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Aeroflot A320 taxiing to the gate at Berlin Brandenburg. (Photo: AirlineGeeks|James Dinsdale)

Aeroflot Adds New A320neo, Works Toward Further Domestic Recovery

Russian national carrier Aeroflot announced on Tuesday it had welcomed its first Airbus A320neo to its young fleet, becoming the first airline to operate the aircraft type in Russia.

The new aircraft — registered in the airline’s home country as VP-BPQ and bearing the name of Anatoly Dobrynin, a Russian diplomat in the late 20th century — is powered by CFM International Leap-1A engines. It was initially meant to be delivered to aircraft lessor CDB Aviation in November 2020 but was placed in storage before being leased to Aeroflot.

The lessor says that the Russian airline received the aircraft in Toulouse on May 14 and is planning to lease three more — two A320neos and an A321neo — to Aeroflot later this month.

Aeroflot says that the interior cabin of the A320neo is quite similar to that of the Airbus A350-900, which the airline has operated since March 2020.

The Airbus A320 family aircraft currently features the widest cabin among other comparable narrow-body aircraft, and the airline’s A320neo is configured with 12 Business class seats and 144 Economy class seats, which the airline says will “provide a new level of comfort for Aeroflot passengers.”

In addition, the A320neo will be equipped with colour-changing lighting system to make the flight experience enjoyable yet unique, no matter the time of day. The aircraft is also fitted with enlarged overhead bins for carry-on items.

Aeroflot will be welcoming more A320neo family aircraft into its fleet in the months ahead as it looks to take delivery of eight more aircraft by the end of 2021.

Leaning on Domestic Recovery

Beside the new addition and incoming deliveries, Aeroflot has phased out two Airbus A320s and transferred three Boeing 737-800s to the fleet of wholly-owned subsidiary low-cost carrier Pobeda Airlines.

The transference of two Sukhoi SSJ100s was also done to the fleet of Rossiya Airlines as part of an intra-group redistribution. As of April 2021, the Aeroflot Group’s fleet consisted of 334 aircraft, excluding the newly added Airbus A320neo.

The fleet update comes as the Aeroflot Group released its operating results for April 2021, which were still affected by the restrictions and demand fluctuations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group carried a total of 3 million passengers, which represented a 34.5% decline as compared to 2019. A total of 2.6 million passengers were serviced in the domestic segment, which was a 3.6% increase as compared to 2019, a welcome change for the airline as it works toward full recovery. Furthermore, the group’s passenger load factor was 78.0%, a 42.6% year-over-year increase.

This comes as the Aeroflot Group continues to restore most of its domestic air traffic volumes and aims for a steadier recovery through the domestic market. As for international air traffic, the group’s operations still remain significantly limited with only partial restoration, but as more borders open and approvals are given, the group is hoping to gradually restore more international flights.

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